Speciality bread has become a must stock item for retailers, but it's not just naans and wraps which have made the bestsellers' list. Irish bakery Irwin's has joined forces with celebrity chef Paul Rankin to launch a four-strong range of authentic Irish bread under the Rankin Selection label. Brown soda bread, sliced stoneground wheaten, soda farls and potato farls all come in premium brown paper packaging. Rankin says: "Because in Ireland our unique bread is an everyday product, I think we've been guilty of taking it for granted." At the moment the range is exclusively in Waitrose, although Irwin's plans to roll it out to more retailers in the future. Rival Ormeau Bakery's Ormo brand, now part of British Bakeries' repertoire, is currently being assessed by its new owner. Brand director Paula Moss says: "We think there will be exciting opportunities to build the brand in Ireland and the UK." Renowned for its speciality Irish bread for the local market, it has also become a hit in Britain and Ireland which now account for over 24% of Ormeau's sales. New lines such as organic honey and butter wheaten, cheese and bacon soda farls and champ potato farls have all gained national distribution with chains such as Asda, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury. Old favourites such as Soreen's 40-year-old malted loaf brand have shaken off their staid image to successfully appeal to younger consumers. In the past two years the company has invested more than £1m in a makeover bringing new products to market including a banana fruit loaf, and its first snack pack consisting of two buttered slices of fruity malt loaf that it hopes to expand on this year. Using humorous ads focusing on rolls is the Enjoy Organic Company's latest ploy to take the stodginess out of the traditional organic bread sector. This light-hearted approach plus contemporary packaging has, claims marketing manager Ian Hills, rocketed it from 23rd position to being the ninth biggest organic brand. This year it plans to give its bread a packaging makeover to bring it in line with the rest of the range. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}